Fibromyalgia is a chronic musculoskeletal disease characterized by a common pain, usually accompanied by fatigue, depression, sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment, digestive and urinary problems. Fibromyalgia affects people physically, mentally and socially. It occurs in people of all ages, including children. Fibromyalgia literally means pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons. However, this disease is much more than pain and manifests itself in many other symptoms, which vary from person to person. Doctors diagnose based on a combination of symptoms related to this disease or how the patient feels, including fatigue, tenderness, functionality, and general health problems. Laboratory tests may be required to rule out or diagnose coexisting health conditions (eg lupus, thyroid hormone resistance, rheumatoid arthritis). Fibromyalgia can be caused by a problem with nerve and pain signals in the brain. In other words, in people suffering from this disease, the brain misperceives daily pain and other sensory experiences, making it more sensitive to pressure, temperature (hot or cold), light and noise than people without fibromyalgia.
Who is Seen With Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia can affect people of all ages, including children. However, in most people this disease is diagnosed in the middle age, and as the age gets older, people are more likely to develop the disease. Patients with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
Some other factors are poorly associated with the onset of this disease. These possible risk factors are:
- Women are twice as likely to develop fibromyalgia as men.
- Stressful or traumatic events such as car accidents, post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Frequent recurrent injuries.
- Diseases (such as viral infections).
- Family history.
- Weight gain and obesity.
What are the causes of fibromyalgia?
Although the main cause of fibromyalgia is not known in detail, research has shown that genetic factors are effective in this disease.Because of this situation, people with fibromyalgia in the family have an 8 to 9-fold chance of developing the disease. However, some environmental factors are one of the most important causes of this disease. Physical and emotional events, especially during childhood, are among the major causes of this disease.
Fibromyalgia is also a problem with a psychological dimension. Depression, sleep disturbance and anxiety are more common in people with high problem. This disease is more common in women between the ages of 23-58 and can be seen in men. Unhappiness and stress are factors that cause psychological balance to collapse, and those who are not satisfied and happy with the work they are working with have a high risk of developing this disease.
What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
This disease is characterized by persistent, widespread pain that can move in waves throughout the body, causing sensations such as throbbing, scattering, or intense stabbing. Even slight changes in pressure or temperature (including contact) trigger discomfort. Some people maintain fairly consistent symptom levels, while others experience periods of remission that vary with activity periods. Beyond pain, this disease is associated with a number of symptoms that affect multiple organ systems. These;
- Fatigue, which usually begins to become chronic,
- Joint symptoms such as muscle and muscle spasm, muscle weakness and jaw pain,
- Cognitive symptoms such as loss of concentration, disorientation,
- Sleeping disorders,
- Symptoms of cerebral sensitivity, such as vertigo, migraine or sensitivity to light, sound and odor,
- gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating or stomach cramping,
- Urinary problems such as bladder pain, pain during urination, or frequency of urination,
- Psychological problems such as depression, mood swings or panic attacks,
- Painful periods. Reproductive symptoms such as pain in the pelvic region or early menopause,
- Temporary hair loss, heart palpitations, and benign growth of tissue (lipomas) may also occur.
How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be quite difficult. There is no single test or examination indicating that the pain is due to fibromyalgia. People with suspected fibromyalgia may be asked for blood tests and x-rays. Part of this is to investigate other possible causes of pain in the muscles and bones.
Stability and attention are very important in the treatment of fibromyalgia. If the disease cannot be diagnosed correctly, treatment of a much different disease may have begun and in this case the patient may be under a very unnecessary burden of medication. In this case, fibromyalgia can become chronic, making treatment impossible. Changing permanent doctors, discontinuing treatments, and seeking different treatments can also make the symptoms of this disease gradually worsen. With this disease, it is very important that the medications prescribed by the doctor are used meticulously.
It is recommended that people with fibromyalgia also make changes in their daily activities in addition to medication. Stress and nerve-free, regular and quality life, balanced, healthy diet and sleep patterns increase the success rate of treatment of this disease highly. When the body cannot rest well enough, people can overreact to even the smallest problem in everyday life.
The most important rule in the treatment of this disease is the cooperation of the doctor and the patient. Patient-specific treatments include stem cell applications, physical therapy methods, and combinations of exercise programs. Especially in recent years, stem cell (PRP) method of fibrositis (painful muscle) which is one of the main causes of this disease will be easier to eliminate. Some important types of physical therapy that may vary from patient to patient in the treatment of fibromyalgia include;
- Injections to problem areas,
- Ozone therapy,
- Applications called electrotherapy (Ultrasound Therapy, Hvgs, Tens, Biofeedback, Enterfrensional Currents),
- Massage to tissues,
- Classic massages,
- Stretching and loosening the body,
- Prp (Stem cell-Platelet Rich Plasma),
- Neural therapy, Manipulation and Prolotherapy.
Also for this disease your doctor may recommend some medications. Drugs help relieve pain, which is the biggest symptom of this disease, and a comfortable sleep. The recommended drug types are:
- Some painkillers: Painkillers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may help. The doctor may also recommend a painkiller such as tramadol.
- Antidepressants. Duloxetine and milnacipran can help to alleviate the pain and fatigue problems associated with fibromyalgia. The doctor may also recommend amitriptyline or muscle relaxant to help sleep.
- Seizure prevention drugs. Drugs used to treat epilepsy can often be helpful in reducing some types of pain. Gabapentin can sometimes help to reduce the symptoms of this disease.
What should be done to prevent fibromyalgia?
Although it is not a life-threatening problem, it is a disease that can greatly reduce the quality of life and affect it at a high rate. To prevent this disease, regular sports and exercises should be done first. Healthy and balanced diet should be avoided, stress and nerve should be avoided. Coffee and tea consumed during the day should be reduced. Coke, cigarettes and alcohol should also be avoided. Any painkillers and antidepressant derivatives should not be taken without medical supervision. These drugs are much more severe and can cause chronic problems. Whenever possible, it is recommended to go to hammams, saunas and spas on holidays. Pilates, massage therapies and yoga are a good way to prevent this disease.